JEFF SCHIFF (click to hear the poet read this poem)

Cage

The poem about the Mexican

bird vendor

tweets without end

 

What else would it fucking do

fool

tweet-fucking-tweet

 

cuckoos nightjars potoos

crammed as they are

dozens of fledglings to the fetid cage

 

finches thrushes vireos

a dozen or more

stacked cages

 

a towering wing

god’s own feathered jukebox

strapped to this man’s shirtless back

 

honeycreepers & warblers

& those seemingly tethered

to out-thrust sticks

 

that fly no further

than the first thought of castigation

hunger anonymity

 

hauled

around the central plaza

& into the courtyard

 

of the grand Cathedral

Rufous-crested

chestnut-bellied lineated

 

this poem wants to know

if you can spare two bucks

twenty pesos

 

if you are attentive

if you’ve ever held a bird in your palm

& fought the urge

 

nothing more mind you

cousin

to gently close your fingers

 

around a desperate flutter

 

Jeff Schiff is the author of Burro Heart, which may be ordered by emailing the publisher of Mammoth Books Press at info@mammothbooks.com